For book group this year my friends and I decided to go with Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The deciding factor was the recent presidential election and outcome. With a dark four years ahead of us my friend Dalton’s reasoning mad perfect sense:
It’s the story of 3 kids constantly surrounded by adults who are either actively evil, or incredibly stupid and ignorant. All of the kids I work with feel like they are these kids, surrounded by the hate and stupidity of the adults in this country.
I mean if I were a high school student now I’d be asking WTF are the voting age people thinking. I mean, I’m asking myself the same thing and I’m a voting member of the population. Seriously guys, WTF?
This is a super fast read, like super fast. My Kindle said the average reading time was 1:46 and I was like no way. It was actually shorter because there’s a substantial preview of the next book in it. The story follows the Baudelaire siblings who at the beginning of the book become orphans and then have to suffer the ministrations of a distant relative trying to steal their inheritance.
There’s not a lot to really write about because the book is so short, but I guess what I really enjoyed about it was Handler/Snicket’s writing style. He simultaneously wrote down and didn’t write to his young adult/advanced child readers in a matter of fact way.
“This is one reason many lawyers make heaps of money. They money is an incentive—the word ‘incentive’ here means ‘an offered reward to persuade you to do something you don’t want to do’—to read long, dull, and difficult books.” (Loc. 706)
That last half both makes me laugh because I totally understand the words, but it also makes me smile because he used the word he wanted and then explained it in a way that many young readers wouldn’t have to look it up. There was even a time when Klaus, the only boy and middle child, snapped back at someone for trying to explain a word to him.
Then there was this passage that made laugh and think I was going crazy because I was starting to nod off that night reading it.
“The book was long, and difficult to read, and Klaus became more and more tired as the night wore on. Occasionally his eyes would close. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over.” (Loc. 792).
I’m honestly not sure what I would’ve thought if I read these as a tween or teenager so it will be interesting to hear my friend’s point of view as he’s the only one who has read them previously.
Recommendation: I think this was a great start to what I’ve heard is a great series. It’s going to be hard not to blast ahead and finish all of them back-to-back in a week. I’m also considering checking out the new Netflix series of the books as I heard the Jim Carey movie isn’t that great of a movie. That, and Netflix seems to be doing great adaptations recently.
Opening Line: “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”
Additional Quotes from The Bad Beginning
“Sometimes, just saying that you hate something, and having someone agree with you, can make you feel better about a terrible situation.” (Loc. 232)